Meet Our Team

Stacia Paganelli

Stacia is a native to the Rochester area and has been working as a pediatric speech pathologist since 2001. She has practiced primarily as a home-based therapist  (Early Intervention/preschool) and in the outpatient setting, recently moving from Step by Step Pediatric Therapy Center to her private practice, Help with Feeding, in 2022. Stacia loves working directly with families, empowering them to support changes in feeding routines and meeting overall family wellness goals. She also loves teaching at local colleges, daycare centers, and to other providers. Sharing her knowledge and clinical experience with parents and colleagues is her passion.


Stacia has developed an expertise in supporting feeding development in the first two years of life as well as integrating principles of infant mental health practice into her work with families and other colleagues. She also enjoys mentoring other SLPs and OTs interested in pediatric feeding.


Stacia is a wife and mother of two boys, ages 17 and 15, as well as a sweet little dog, Rosie. She enjoys reading/learning, yoga, and spending time with friends when she is not at work following her passions there.

Kristin Bergholtz

Kristin has been working as a pediatric speech-language pathologist (SLP) in the Rochester area since 2004 servicing primarily children in Early Intervention and Preschool. She has previously worked as an itinerant SLP at Clinical Associates of the Finger Lakes as well as Step By Step Pediatric Therapy Center as well as served as the Clinic Director of the Speech and Language Clinic at Nazareth University  (formerly Nazareth College), prior to opening her private practice, Canalside Speech in 2021. Kristin enjoys interfacing directly with clients and their families to help guide them and support them along their communication journey. She has a passion for working directly with families using a parent coaching model  to help make communication easier during everyday interactions. Kristin throughly enjoys learning from other professionals and families that she has worked with as well as sharing her knowledge and expertise with other professionals/colleagues, students and the greater community.


Kristin has specialized in working with children who are deaf/hard of hearing and their families using a variety of communication modalities. Her areas of interest include early intervention/preschool, building speech/language through parent coaching, speech sound disorders,  and childhood apraxia of speech. Kristin has been engaged in trainings for infant mental health as well as reflective supervision to build her knowledge and skills when working directly with families. She also is the co-chair of the advisory board for Best Buddies of Western NY and sits on the board of Hands and Voices of NY as well as the professional advisory board for Rochester Hearing and Speech Center.


Personally. Kristin enjoys spending time with her husband, Steve and two children, Christopher and Madelyn as well as reading, running/excercising, enjoying time with friends, and traveling to the beach! 

Sonya Smith

Sonya has devoted her career to working with children in a wide variety of settings to include the neonatal intensive care unit, early intervention home setting, schools, hospital rehabilitation centers, and outpatient clinics. With a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Buffalo in 2010, she then went on to become a Board-Certified Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy in 2022 through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Sonya founded Muddy Sneakers Physical Therapy in Victor, NY. She believes in creating a welcoming space to allow children to optimize their physical independence, and a space where each milestone is a child's journey is celebrated; however large or small.

Outside of the clinic setting, Sonya enjoys running, camping, and spending time with her husband and three young children – Adelyn, Lexi, and Beckham. In 2017, she became co-founder of Inclusion In Motion where she has been working with a small team to design and build the first isUD certified playground in the United States.

Jennifer Wheeler

Jenny Wheeler is a pediatric occupational therapist who opened her private practice, Wheeler Occupational Therapy, PLLC in July 2023. In 2012, she began her work as an occupational therapist at Mary Cariola Center. She continues to work at Mary Cariola part time where she provides therapy to children with a diverse range of multiple and complex disabilities. She loves to help bring out their abilities as they learn to explore their school environment.

 

In 2018, she had the opportunity to work on a per diem basis at Nazareth University (previously college), assuming the role of an adjunct professor. During her time there she supervised students as they provided treatment to both children and adults from the local community within the York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute Clinic. She has also worked part time providing EI and preschool services to children in Monroe County, which has allowed her to see infants and children in various settings such as their homes, daycares, and preschools.

 

She has actively pursued numerous continuing education courses to enhance her skills and knowledge. Some of these courses include Rocktaping® (Kinesiology taping), the SOS Approach to Feeding, Therapeutic Positioning and Handling for Children with Multiple Disabilities, as well as Pediatric Aquatic Therapy. In addition, Jenny collaborated with a group of colleagues to conduct research and deliver a professional CEU based presentation on Increasing Independence and Engagement with Feeding, to the staff at Mary Cariola in May, 2021.

 

In Jenny’s spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband, Paul Wheeler, who also owns his own business, Wheeler HealthyU, which is where Jenny has her own pediatric therapy space. They love spending time with their 2 year old son and 4 year old daughter. As a family, they enjoy engaging in various activities such as running, biking, playing soccer, and waterskiing. Paul and Jenny initially crossed paths at Nazareth College in 2009 while participating on the cross country team. As they have grown in their careers they have also discovered their shared passion for improving the quality of life for others.

Ruthie VanGorder

Ruthie is an Occupational Therapist and Mindfulness educator. She received her training at Keuka College where she graduated in 1995. She began her career as a traveling Occupational Therapist along the eastern coast of the United States. It was on this adventure that she discovered her passion and purpose in working with children, teachers and families. Ruthie has worked within multiple school districts and homes within the Wayne Finger Lakes region and some within Monroe county as a school based provider and an early intervention/preschool provider. Her work within the schools and homes led her to specialize in whole class interventions and staff/teacher training, as well as whole family collaboration.


Ruthie is an independent provider servicing schools, families and students in a variety of capacities. She became a certified children’s yoga instructor with KAY yoga and Yoga 4 classrooms in 2018 as well as completing her 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2019. She pursued her Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training in 2020 alongside Erica Ebert who is a Brown University trained specialist in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. This lens of mindfulness provided a foundation that enhanced the sensory training and experience she has as an Occupational Therapist. Ruthie continues to provide mindfulness based OT services to families and school communities as a private consultant through her Mindful OT business. She serves on the Nazareth OT advisory board as well as the Autism Advisory Board with the Ontario ARC. 


Personally, Ruthie enjoys traveling with her husband Tim and spending time with their two girls, Grace and Emma. Together, they love to spend time on the lake, walking their standard poodle Murphy and hiking wherever they can!